MLB Power Rankings: Where Is Your Favorite Team After the All-Star Break?

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 19, 2013

MLB Power Rankings: Where Is Your Favorite Team After the All-Star Break?

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    The fun that is the MLB All-Star break is now behind us, and with the second half set to kick off, a busy trade deadline and postseason push are now on the horizon.

    We took a week off from MLB power rankings this past Monday for the All-Star break, but we'll be back to our regular Monday morning postings from here on out.

    For now, here is a look at where all 30 teams stand as the second half kicks off. I took this as an opportunity to reset the rankings based on overall first-half performance as well as second-half outlook.

30. Houston Astros (33-61, 5th in AL West)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    As we move toward the deadline, expect veterans Carlos Pena, Jose Veras and Bud Norris to be shopped and likely moved as the rebuilding process continues in Houston.

    Meanwhile, the team will get a good long look at potential future ace Jarred Cosart (1 GS, 8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER) as well as fellow top prospects Jonathan Singleton and George Springer.

    They could also look to lock up All-Star catcher Jason Castro to a long-term deal similar to the four-year, $12.5 million contract Jose Altuve got, as he looks like a piece of the puzzle moving forward.

29. Miami Marlins (35-58, 5th in NL East)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    The Marlins have been the worst team in the National League so far this season, and while they look to have a bright future with a good deal of young talent, the second half likely won't get much better.

    All-Star Jose Fernandez has been great, while young hitters Marcell Ozuna and Derek Dietrich could be joined by Christian Yelich in the second half.

    A healthy Giancarlo Stanton should be able to provide some excitement in the second half, but the Marlins will be hard-pressed to avoid finishing the season with the worst record in the National League.

28. Chicago White Sox (37-55, 5th in AL Central)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    After a rough first half in which they struggled to one of the worst records in baseball, the White Sox will likely sell as aggressively as any team in baseball at the deadline, with Jake Peavy, Alex Rios and Jesse Crain ranking as their best trade chips.

    If some or all of those guys wind up moved, it should help to bolster what is an incredibly thin farm system and be a big step forward in a necessary rebuild.

    As for pieces to build around moving forward, left-hander Chris Sale is not only the best player on the team, but he is also one of the best young arms in all of baseball and should be a perennial Cy Young candidate for the foreseeable future.

27. Milwaukee Brewers (38-56, 5th in NL Central)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    After making a strong push toward the postseason in the second half last year, there was some hope that the Brewers' impressive offense could propel them into contention this season, but that hasn't been the case.

    As a result, they look like sellers at the deadline, and if Yovani Gallardo and Kyle Lohse are moved, that would be a big step toward full-on rebuilding.

    Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura look like solid building blocks for the future, and the team will spend the second half getting a long look at its stable of starting pitching and deciding who fits where into its future plans.

26. Minnesota Twins (39-53, 4th in AL Central)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    The Twins are in a tough position in that they need a good deal to return to contention but don't have all that much in the way of movable pieces to sell at the deadline.

    Free-agent-to-be Justin Morneau will likely be shopped as well as a handful of relievers, with their most intriguing trade chip being All-Star closer Glen Perkins (21-of-23 SV, 1.82 ERA, 12.2 K/9). Signed to a team-friendly deal through 2015, it will take a good deal to pry him away from the Twins.

    The future is bright in Minnesota, with top prospects Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano looking like future superstars. In the immediate future, right-hander Kyle Gibson will be one to watch as he tries to lock down a rotation spot for 2014 in the second half.

25. New York Mets (41-50, 4th in NL East)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    The Mets have an exciting future, and watching Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler take the mound will provide plenty of reason for excitement in the second half. But as a team, they're not going anywhere this season.

    The team should also get a look at top catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud in the second half as he continues to rehab from a broken foot, with fellow R.A. Dickey trade acquisition Noah Syndergaard looking like he'll make a big league impact in the near future as well.

    As for the trade deadline, they don't have much in the way of trade chips. Veteran catcher John Buck (.679 OPS, 14 HR, 48 RBI) and outfielder Marlon Byrd (.818 OPS, 15 HR, 51 RBI) look like the most likely to be moved, though it remains to be seen what kind of return they'll bring.

24. San Diego Padres (42-54, 5th in NL West)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    For a short time in the first half, the Padres looked like potential contenders, as they used a 10-2 stretch to pull to 36-34 on the season, just one game out of first place. However, they've gone just 6-20 since and currently find themselves 8.5 games back.

    Nonetheless, they're headed in the right direction as a franchise, as they have a good core of young talent and a deep crop of minor league talent. Jedd Gyorko and Yonder Alonso look like core offensive players, and Everth Cabrera is enjoying a breakout season.

    The lack of pitching has been the Padres' biggest weakness, and they may make a run at a controllable arm like Yovani Gallardo at the deadline. What to do with Chase Headley remains a major question as well, as he looked like an extension candidate after his big second half last year but could still be traded.

23. Chicago Cubs (42-51, 4th in NL Central)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    As the rebuilding process continues on the North Side, the Cubs will be big sellers at the deadline once again this season. They've already moved Scott Feldman, Carlos Marmol and Scott Hairston, and more moves are on the way.

    Right-hander Matt Garza (11 GS, 6-1, 3.17 ERA) looks like the prize of the trade deadline, while the team could also move Alfonso Soriano, Nate Schierholtz, Kevin Gregg and Dioner Navarro, among others.

    In return, the already vastly improved farm system should only get better, and top prospect Javier Baez (.267/.330/.529, 20 HR, 62 RBI, 12 SB at High-A and Double-A) may wind up seeing a September call-up. An extension for Jeff Samardzija may also be in the works before the season comes to a close.

22. Seattle Mariners (43-52, 4th in AL West)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    The youth movement in Seattle is in full swing, with top prospects Nick Franklin, Mike Zunino and Brad Miller already making an impact at the big league level and more help on the way.

    The most exciting incoming prospect is right-hander Taijuan Walker (6-7, 2.16 ERA, 10.1 K/9), who has dominated as a 20-year-old at Double-A and Triple-A this season. If the team moves Joe Saunders at the deadline, Walker could be the choice to replace him in the rotation.

    Sluggers Raul Ibanez, Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales may also be on the move, along with slick-fielding Brendan Ryan and relievers Tom Wilhelmsen and Oliver Perez. That should only make a deep farm system better, and the Mariners look to have as bright a future as any team in the American League long-term.

21. Los Angeles Angels (44-49, 3rd in AL West)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    The Angels have been as big a disappointment as any team in baseball this season, and while other disappointments like the Dodgers and Blue Jays have managed to get on track, they still look completely lost heading into the second half.

    The high-powered offense has fallen well short of expectations, though Mike Trout is having another fantastic season and Howie Kendrick has been great as well.

    The Angels don't have much to sell, and as a team built to win for the near future, they'll likely stand pat and look to make a run once again next season. Left-hander Jason Vargas is one piece who could be dealt, though he is currently on the DL.

20. San Francisco Giants (43-51, 4th in NL West)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    The reigning World Series champs have struggled through a tough first half, as their once dominant pitching staff has been unable to carry the team this year, and the offense has not picked up the slack.

    They entered the break on a 5-15 slide, as Madison Bumgarner has been the only reliable starter on the Giants staff this season. Perhaps the 148-pitch no-hitter that Tim Lincecum threw in his final start before the break can spark a big second half out of the free-agent-to-be.

    If the Giants can string together a few wins to open the second half, they may look to add a starter at the deadline and make a run at the wide-open NL West, but if not, they could shop guys like Lincecum and reliever Javier Lopez.

19. Kansas City Royals (43-49, 3rd in AL Central)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    The Royals were aggressive in the offseason in dealing for James Shields and Wade Davis, as they looked to make the move from rebuilding to contender. While they remain on the fringe of contention, things have not quite gone to plan.

    Shields has been the ace they hoped he'd be, and the pitching staff as a whole has been vastly improved, but the team's homegrown offensive core has not held up its side of the bargain.

    If they decide to sell, right-hander Ervin Santana (5-6, 3.37 ERA) would be one of the more attractive starting pitching arms on the market. Getting core pieces like Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar on track will be big for the team's second-half and future success.

18. Philadelphia Phillies (48-48, 3rd in NL East)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    The Phillies' aging veteran core managed to carry a .500 record into the All-Star break, but they don't look to have the pieces to make a run at the Nationals and Braves in the NL East.

    A full-scale rebuild is needed at this point, but they have so much money tied up in a handful of stars, that may be easier said than done. If nothing else, the breakout season of Domonic Brown gives them a young star to build around moving forward.

    They've got some pieces to sell at the deadline, with Chase Utley and Michael Young set to hit free agency at the end of the year. High-priced pitchers Jonathan Papelbon and Cliff Lee could be shopped as well, though their asking prices and remaining salaries will make it hard to find a suitable trade partner.

17. Colorado Rockies (46-50, 3rd in NL West)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    The Rockies were surprise contenders for much of the first half, but their lack of starting pitching has started to catch up to them once again of late, and they may be hard-pressed to hang around .500 in the second half.

    The trio of Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Cuddyer have been fantastic leading the offense, and the pitching trio of Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin and Tyler Chatwood have been great.

    However, the back end of the rotation has been an absolute disaster, and they could look to make a push and add an arm at the deadline. If not, look for closer Rafael Betancourt to be shopped, with Rex Brothers emerging as one of the best young relievers in the game.

16. Toronto Blue Jays (45-49, 5th in AL East)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    After a busy offseason that made them a trendy pick to win it all, the Blue Jays stumbled out of the gates, and it took an 11-game winning streak in the middle of June to pull them to where they are now.

    They've pulled close enough to be buyers at the deadline, and they could really use another starting pitcher to fill out what has been a very disappointing starting rotation. If they string together a few losses coming out of the break, there's an outside chance they could shop Josh Johnson, as he's set to hit free agency in the offseason.

    As disappointing as this season has been, they still have the pieces to make some noise over the next couple of years. Staying healthy will be a big part of it, but with a little roster tinkering, they could reach the level they were expected to be at next season.

15. Washington Nationals (48-47, 2nd in NL East)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    Though they closed out the first half a game over .500 and are still right in the thick of things in the NL East, the Nationals have fallen well short of expectations this season after entering the year among the favorites in the NL.

    The trio of Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg have been great once again, but the back end of the rotation has been awful. They'll no doubt try hard to add an impact starter at the deadline, though Taylor Jordan looks like he could lock down one of those spots.

    Offensively, look for a big second half out of rookie Anthony Rendon, who has transitioned from third base to second to replace the anemic bat of Danny Espinosa. There's no real hole, and if they can play up to their potential, another arm may make the difference down the stretch.

14. Los Angeles Dodgers (47-47, 2nd in NL West)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    The Dodgers were the hottest team in baseball heading into the break, as they rode a 17-5 streak that pulled them to .500 on the season and into second place in a wide-open NL West.

    Keeping the starting rotation healthy and getting superstar Matt Kemp on track will go a long way toward determining their second-half success. One has to imagine Yasiel Puig will cool off a bit as the league starts to see more of him, but he should continue to be an important all-around player.

    Shoring up the bullpen will be the biggest priority of the deadline, and the team could also add some punch at second or third base if the right player becomes available. All in all, though, the Dodgers look to be in good shape for a second-half push.

13. New York Yankees (51-44, 4th in AL East)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    The Yankees did an admirable job staying competitive through all of their injuries in the first half, but things have started to catch up to them offensively of late, and they may not be able to hang around in the AL East for long unless they make some additions.

    Getting Derek Jeter healthy and Alex Rodriguez back in New York will help, but only so much can be expected out of those two at this point. The Yankees can't afford to mortgage their future by dealing top prospects, as they're rapidly approaching a rebuilding stage and need all the young talent they can get.

    My guess is they'll add a couple of mid-level veteran pieces in an effort to spark the offense but will struggle to avoid a last-place finish this season. Hard to imagine what a last-place finish would mean for the upcoming offseason, but it's safe to say it wouldn't be a quiet winter in the Bronx.

12. Cleveland Indians (51-44, 2nd in AL Central)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    Despite a clear overall talent gap between them and Detroit, the Indians have managed to hang around in the AL Central and trailed the Tigers by just 1.5 games at the break.

    The offense is more balanced than it has been over the past few seasons, with Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana emerging as stars, but the supporting cast has fallen off substantially after the team's hot start.

    Pitching remains the biggest question, though, as the bullpen is a mess and the No. 4 and 5 spots in the rotation have been a revolving door. If they can find a viable closer, and Danny Salazar can lock down a rotation spot, they'll be in better shape, but they're going to have a hard time passing and holding off the Tigers.

11. Arizona Diamondbacks (50-45, 1st in NL West)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    The Diamondbacks entered the break with a 2.5-game lead in the NL West, as they did some major roster retooling in the offseason, and it has paid off to this point.

    That said, they'll likely need to do more at the deadline, as they could use a reliable closer and another starting pitcher to round out what has been a hit-and-miss rotation this year outside of Patrick Corbin.

    The offense looks to be in good shape, though, especially if catcher Miguel Montero can get on track. Paul Goldschmidt is a legitimate MVP candidate, and Adam Eaton's return as a table-setter atop the lineup could provide a spark.

10. Baltimore Orioles (53-43, 3rd in AL East)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    On the strength of their dynamic offense, the Orioles have been one of the best teams in baseball in the first half, but it remains to be seen if that will be enough to carry them to the postseason.

    The bullpen is not nearly as dominant as it was last year, and the starting rotation is once again lacking a front-line ace to anchor the staff. Chris Tillman (11-3, 3.95 ERA) has been solid, as has Miguel Gonzalez (7-3, 3.48 ERA), but the rest of the rotation is a huge question mark.

    They've already acquired Scott Feldman from the Cubs in an attempt to improve their staff, but that may not be enough with the Red Sox and Rays both looking strong heading into the second half.

9. Cincinnati Reds (53-42, 3rd in NL Central)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    It speaks to how good the NL Central is this year when the Reds are third in their own division but crack the top 10 teams overall, and they'll have their work cut out for them if they hope to win a division title.

    They may look to add a few pieces at the deadline, but the bulk of their additions will come from the disabled list, where Johnny Cueto, Ryan Ludwick, Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton all currently reside.

    If those four can get healthy, the Reds have the starting pitching depth and offensive firepower to not only make it to the postseason but to make some legitimate noise once they get there. Health will be the key, though, and even with a good second half, they may have to settle for a wild-card spot.

8. Atlanta Braves (54-41, 1st in NL East)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    The Braves entered the All-Star break with the biggest division lead in baseball, as they were six games up on the Washington Nationals, but they have some glaring holes on the offensive side of things.

    Their 826 strikeouts are tops in the National League, and they're hitting just .243 with runners in scoring position. On an individual basis, they have four regulars hitting under .250 on the season, and a full-scale change in their approach at the plate may be what it takes.

    That said, Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann should continue to drive in runs, and the team does have plenty of power. The rotation has been solid and will benefit from the return of Brandon Beachy, and the bullpen has overcome the losses of Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty nicely.

7. Detroit Tigers (52-42, 1st in AL Central)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    On paper, the Tigers look like the most talented team in the American League, but they have not run away with the AL Central like many predicted they would and lead the Indians by just 1.5 games.

    It took a late-season push to even make the playoffs last year, but it's hard to imagine they won't repeat as AL Central champions. Led by a rotation that features four front-line arms and a lineup anchored by the greatest hitter in the world and three other All-Stars, there is no shortage of impact players.

    The biggest issue has been the bullpen, and while setup man Joaquin Benoit has been solid since moving to the closer's role, the 'pen as a whole could use another reliable arm or two. Aside from that, the Tigers look poised for another AL pennant push.

6. Texas Rangers (54-41, 2nd in AL West)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    Despite all that they lost in the offseason and a myriad of injuries, the Rangers have managed to rank among the top teams in baseball all season long and look to be gearing up for a good battle with the A's for AL West supremacy.

    The starting rotation has been a patchwork group of youngsters behind Yu Darvish and Derek Holland, and the Rangers will no doubt look to add a veteran arm at the deadline. Martin Perez looks like he could provide a boost in the second half, though, and the bullpen has been terrific.

    Offensively, Texas could use another run producer but has managed to hold things together after losing Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Michael Young. More so than almost any team, the Rangers' second-half fate will rest heavily on what they do at the deadline.

5. Tampa Bay Rays (55-41, 2nd in AL East)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    The Rays closed out the first half on a 17-4 run, including going 9-1 in their last 10 games. With their trademark pitching finally coming around, they look like serious contenders.

    The focus of the offseason was to improve the offense, and low-cost pickups James Loney and Kelly Johnson have helped do that alongside a healthy Evan Longoria. However, the starting rotation has battled injuries (David Price, Alex Cobb) and inconsistency (Jeremy Hellickson, Roberto Hernandez).

    With Price back, Cobb on the mend and rookie Chris Archer looking like an impact arm moving forward, the Rays now have the pitching to back their improved offensive punch and should make a run at the AL East title or, if nothing else, earn a wild-card spot.

4. Oakland Athletics (56-39, 1st in AL West)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    The Athletics aren't taking anyone by surprise this season, but they have continued winning games nonetheless and look to have a good chance to repeat as AL West champions.

    Outside of Josh Donaldson (.310/.379/.522, 16 HR, 61 RBI), Bartolo Colon (12-3, 2.70 ERA) and Grant Balfour (25-of-25 SV, 1.63 ERA), no one is putting up eye-popping numbers. But from a team standpoint, the pieces just fit together.

    They tend to stand pat at the deadline, though an upgrade at second base and perhaps another veteran starter would be welcome additions. Regardless of what the A's do, expect them to be playing come October.

3. Pittsburgh Pirates (56-37, 2nd in NL Central)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    After back-to-back second-half collapses, one can't help but approach the Pirates' first-half success with cautious optimism, but they look like a different team this time around and capable of going the distance.

    The emergence of guys like Pedro Alvarez and Starling Marte have given the team a far more balanced offensive attack alongside star Andrew McCutchen, and the surprise performance of Jeff Locke and Francisco Liriano in the rotation has helped offset injuries to A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez.

    The real story, however, has been the bullpen, which has a 2.78 ERA and is anchored by a pair of All-Stars in Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli. That stability at the back end will go a long way in helping them avoid another late collapse.

2. Boston Red Sox (58-39, 1st in AL East)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    What a difference a year makes, as the Red Sox have done a complete 180 following their 93-loss season in 2012 and have to be considered the favorites in the AL East right now.

    Part of the turn around can be attributed to their numerous offseason additions, but in-house guys like Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Daniel Nava and Jose Iglesias have stepped their games up and played a huge part in the team's success.

    Landing a starter to fill out their rotation and another veteran arm for the back of their bullpen are priorities at the deadline, and if they can do that, the Red Sox look to be headed for a return to October.

1. St. Louis Cardinals (57-36, 1st in NL Central)

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    Second-Half Outlook

    On the strength of their phenomenal clutch hitting and impressive use of starting pitching depth, the Cardinals enter the second half as the team to beat.

    Led by All-Stars Allen Craig, Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter, the team is hitting a ridiculous .337 with runners in scoring position, a full 49 points higher than the second-best team. 

    Perhaps even more impressively, they've managed to overcome the loss of Kyle Lohse in free agency and injuries to Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia and Jason Motte to post a 3.39 ERA as a staff. Rookies Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal and veteran Edward Mujica have all stepped up huge.

    The rotation is something of a question mark long-term, but Carpenter is on the mend and could give them a huge boost if he proves healthy. Regardless, the NL Central—and NL pennant for that matter—looks to be theirs to lose.